Going back to work after maternity leave can be daunting. If one of your biggest fears going back to the office is, will I still be relevant to my group as I was before I went on leave. The great news is that you will actually be EVEN more valuable. That you are going back to the same office, to the same place you’ve spent so many hours working AFTER having spent a significant amount of time completely focused on something else (keeping your baby alive) puts you in an amazing position. You now have a very fresh perspective combined with institutional knowledge. It’s a rare gift that most organizations don’t ever get, to have an employee who knows everything but has had long enough of a break to see all the old stuff through new eyes. Going back to work after baby gives you an advantage.
The Fresh Perspective You Get When Going Back To Work after Baby
Spending day after day in the office, working with the same people and often encountering the same problems, starts to create an unreal reality. When you work in the same environment for too long you often start:
- Doing things because they have always been done that way without questioning
- Accepting that the issues and challenges your office faces are normal
- Stop challenging the status quo
- Develop a perspective is biased to how thing are, and you believe things to be true or steadfast when they might not be
- Forget that things are different elsewhere
Now that you have had some time out of the office with your new baby those biased thoughts and beliefs are suppressed. They haven’t necessarily gone away but that are a lot less likely to cloud your vision when you are first back to work after maternity leave.
With your fresh eyes, look around and start to ask WHY. Great ways to phrase this are:
For every process: “Why is it that we do it this way? “
When people lament something: “Why don’t we try something else?”
If a process or system frustrates folks: “Why did we set it up like this? “
Then follow those question up with: “Is there a better way?”
Use your institutional knowledge when going back to work after maternity leave
Now that you are focused on looking around at how work is done and asking why, use what you already know to help improve things. You already how to move things around in the organization as well as the key players and the systems and the processes. You can use those to your advantage to move quickly on the ideas that are driven from your new perspective.
Going Back To Work after Maternity Leave, You Got This!
Going back to work after maternity leave is going to be stressful but don’t let that stress get compounded by self-doubt. You are bringing a fresh perspective coupled with a deep understanding and history of your job. That is rare. Use it to your advantage.
If you are looking for some ideas on how to best prepare, emotionally and tactically for your first day back after maternity leave, check out this article.